Much has been said and written about the visit of US Secretary of State who descended on Islamabad last week with top intelligence and army officials to create further confusion regarding their strategy in the region. On the one hand, Ms Clinton expressed a willingness to give peace a chance by supporting an Afghan-led reconciliation process and sought Pakistan's help in bringing Taliban militants to the negotiating table, and on the other, she gave a sort of deadline to Pakistan to act against the militants in North Waziristan that the US now holds responsible for its woes in Afghanistan. What is one to make of this obvious contradiction? You can either talk to the militants or bomb them. Do the mixed signals from the US show that the global bully is confused about what next to do in the region? Or is it deliberately trying to confuse us? Obviously, Ms Clinton's hypocritical and hollow words about engaging with the Afghan resistance in a dialogue mean nothing. After all, any meaningful dialogue is a two-sided affair and can only proceed in an environment of give and take. Bribing individuals to switch sides and accept the US-led imperialist project in Afghanistan cannot be called a dialogue and it is unlikely to produce any results. Reconciliation with those resisting foreign occupation would involve a re-evaluation of US objectives in Afghanistan, but there are no signs to suggest that the US is willing to do that. To its initial goals of decimating Al-Qaeda and stopping Afghanistan from becoming a sanctuary for future terrorist attacks, the US has added a few more, as it routinely does to further its actual undeclared agenda. The US now feels responsible for safeguarding the Afghan Constitution manufactured by puppets installed by it and, of course, it is very concerned about the future of minorities and women in the country. It wants a permanent military presence in Afghanistan and wants India to become a junior partner in its imperialist project. It is promoting ideas of a new Silk road and Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India gas pipeline, all in the name of regional integration, but actually designed to fashion a regional economy that fits into its exploitative corporate dream. Like a parasite, the US has dug its teeth in Afghanistan, and with every drop of blood that it sucks out of its victim, it grows - and so does its greed for more. Reconciliation with the Afghan resistance would mean a trimming down, rather than further expansion, of these bloated goals. As nothing on the ground indicates that the US is willing to revisit its Afghanistan project, all the niceties about respecting the APC resolution and openness to dialogue that Hillary Clinton half-heartedly mouthed are obviously a decoy. From Islamabad, she flew to Tajikistan to make alternative arrangements for NATO supplies in case Pakistan does not dance to its tune necessitating harsher action. While she took on a friendly tone to cajole us into submitting to the oft-repeated do more mantra, the Chairman of the Armed Services Committee of the US Senate threatened to hit targets in Pakistan and warned us that the US will cut ties with Islamabad if it continued to support the Haqqani network. We've also been told by Hillary Clinton that we should act in days or weeks not months or years. She said she got a chance to hear the Pakistan side, but was she really listening? For obviously, it is not possible for Pakistan to stay aboard the US imperialist project anymore without acting against its own national interest. Other than the fact that carrying on with the US gameplan could only mean more violence and instability in the region and within our boundaries, the US insistence on giving India the role of a regional hegemon and Afghanistan's caretaker is not that reassuring. In Balochistan and FATA, we've already got a taste of the mischief that the mini-me hegemon is capable of fomenting from Afghan soil. In any case, why should Pakistan become a tool for helping the meddlesome global bully in establishing a permanent foothold next door and fashioning the region according to its greedy designs that have no place for either us or the Afghan people. Obviously, there is a conflict of interests. The deadlock cannot be wished away by Clinton's insincere statements about respecting the APC resolution and giving peace a chance. If Pakistan is to proceed on the path outlined by the APC resolution, it will have to disentangle itself from such meaningless diplomatic exercises that only serve to distract us with meaningless discussions and weaken our resolve. Except for paying lip service to the possibilities of negotiations with the Afghan resistance, the US has basically stuck to its guns. While we waste our time trying to line up resistance leaders for fruitless discussions with a two-faced occupying power, it will continue to push ahead with its original plans. It would take more than a frank exchange of views to make the global bully rethink its goals in Afghanistan. As was obvious from the joint press briefing by Foreign Minister Hina Khar and Clinton, the US would like us to tag along with it at Istanbul and Bonn, playing a 'constructive' role by staying on the same page. That would be unfortunate. For peace in the region, it would be far more productive for Pakistan to strongly articulate its position in light of the APC resolutions at these forums and push for a peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan that results in an end to the American occupation there. The need for a hectic diplomatic effort to enlist the support of Afghanistan's immediate neighbours for countering the US designs for the region is urgent. The writer is an independent columnist. Email: